Have you ever heard of defensive driving? It is the practice of being constantly alert and ready for any dangers that may occur on the road.
It takes into consideration environmental situations as well as the mistakes of others.
Defensive driving is a popular strategy, and many schools worldwide specialize in teaching it to new and experienced drivers alike.
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There are many things to know about defensive driving, so let’s get started without further ado!
The Principles of Defensive Driving
Since it is an established driving strategy, defensive driving has its principles and rules.
They fall into three main categories, general principles, principles regarding other drivers on the road, and principles related to your vehicle.
● General Principles
- Safety First
The focal point of defensive driving is to have drivers equally prioritize the safety of themselves and everyone else on the road.
- No Distractions
Keep your eyes and mind on the road. Refrain from eating, texting, making hands-on calls, adjusting your outfit, applying makeup, or getting busy with anything other than driving.
- Follow Traffic Rules
The laws are there for a reason: to keep everyone safe. So in line with the first principle, wear your seatbelt, adhere to speed limits and traffic lights, and don’t make any illegal turns.
- Be Alert
Never get behind the wheel if you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or even a medication that may affect your level of consciousness. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep, and if you have a long trip, plan rest stops to take a break.
- Avoid Danger
This involves preparing before you embark on your drive and staying aware while driving. Prepare for the weather, slow down in risky scenarios, and be mindful of the circumstances.
- Always Be Prepared
Eliminate the element of surprise by being a defensive driver. Always be ready and keep your cool no matter the situation you face.
● Principles Regarding Other Drivers
- No Expectations
Don’t expect drivers to behave a certain way, be prepared for any reaction from other people on the road.
- Stay Calm
In case of road rage incidents, don’t let people’s anger influence your state of mind. Stay calm and collected and communicate properly. If an angered driver seems to be tracking you, you can drive to the nearest police station and ask for help.
Keep an eye out for fellow motorist behavior. For example, if you notice a driver in an exhausted state, steer clear of them. Make sure you are aware of the traffic patterns in the area and the tendencies of surrounding vehicles.
Principles Related to Your Vehicle
- Purchase a Safe Car
Yes, defensive driving starts way before you start actually driving. Ensure that your car is equipped with the best safety features and that it provides good protection in case of a crash.
- Keep Your Car Safe
Regular checkups and maintenance for your automobile provide an essential layer of safety to your daily commute.
- Keep a Distance
When on the road, leave enough space between your car and surrounding vehicles, adjust your speed depending on the situation, and don’t forget your lane departure warning.
It is noticeable that defensive driving principles are integrated and interconnected. To follow one to a T is to follow the rest as well. You can’t just pick a few and leave the rest.
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Benefits of Defensive Driving
After all that talk about the principles of defensive driving, we can’t forget to mention the benefits.
Although the defensive school focuses on safety first and foremost, it does have other benefits that come with this steering approach.
- Safer Roads
Duh! If most drivers practice defensive driving in all aspects, there is no doubt that the streets will be a lot safer, and accidents will drop significantly.
- Reduced Fuel Consumption
Preparing for your trip and setting your GPS for the best possible route in advance will help you make the most out of your fuel, and these all are practices enforced in defensive driving.
Not to mention how slowing down and making calculated turns help save up on your gas consumption as well.
- Less Strain on Your Vehicle
All the preparation and precautions you follow when you practice safe driving will significantly reduce the stress you put on your vehicle.
Avoiding dangerous and surprising situations helps you optimally use your car and relieve your automobile of any unnecessary stress.
It’s never too late to start practicing defensive driving. Even if you consider yourself a safe driver, defensive driving gives you a way to not only control your actions on the road but also prepare for sudden events on the road.